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A hardworking mayor

Dear Editor:

I would like to respond to the thinly veiled partisan attack and factually unsupported attempt at character assassination directed at Mario Guerra in last week’s letters to the editor. (“Mayor’s Candidacy,” 8/1/13)

As a Downey homeowner for 25+ years, I have seen many councilpersons have come and go. Mario Guerra has proven himself one of the best councilmen we have ever had. I would argue that his high profile is not self promotion as implied, but the result of hard work and dedication to our city.

It was opined that Mr. Guerra’s experience as a councilman and mayor of the City of Downey should somehow make him unworthy of being a state senator. Quite the opposite; it makes him the ideal candidate to represent our city and the interests of the people in this area! One only needs to look to Sacramento to see that our current legislature is a dismal failure. California is bankrupt and throwing good money after bad. Our city is in a sound and commendable financial situation compared to other cities and the state around us. Mr. Guerra certainly deserves his share recognition in that regard.

The writer directs childish barbs at Mr. Guerra’s capacity as a deacon. Anyone familiar with the position knows that a lot of time, caring dedication, and self sacrifice is required to attain and fulfill the role of a deacon. How this can be turned into a negative defies logic. Even worse, to attack a man on the basis of his religion is unacceptably intolerant and in generally poor taste.

Thomas goes on to imply that our fair city has somehow declined under Mr. Guerra’s watch. Again the facts would indicate otherwise: the aging lackluster restaurants that have faded away have been replaced by a variety of vibrant modern alternatives such as BJ’s, La Barca, Carino’s, and a long list of others. I, too, was a fan of Sambi’s, and made it a point to take my family there on its last night of operation. The sad reality is that the food had been in decline for years, and the aging owners had lost their passion to go on.

The fact that a downtown restaurant has adopted a poor choice of names is not a reason for governmental intervention. I would speculate that a simple marketing study would be likely to reveal that such a name would make people less likely to want to eat there. As such, I haven’t eaten there, but it certainly doesn’t rise to the level of a political scandal as the writer would have you believe.

It should be noted that our city council took a position of disapproval at the suggestion of a hookah lounge at the Rives mansion. In the end, it has been reported that we can look forward to a fine dining venue in a unique and upscale setting. The city council used good judgment in pushing this along in the right direction.

Term limits have proven a divisive issue all across our nation. While I personally support term limits, there was nothing wrong with allowing the voters to reassess whether the policy has proven beneficial to our community. I also applaud the council’s decision to pass over Anne Bayer. Unlike Guerra, from what I read, she was one of the worst do-nothing obstructionist councilpersons in a generation.

While on the subject of politics, let’s not forget that Mario Guerra took a bold position in spite of the blowback against the greedy firemen’s union who sought to sellout to the county for their own gain at the expense of the community. I was set upon a number of times by paid solicitors trying to obtain signatures on the basis of false and misleading claims. The union was clearly playing dirty pool in this regard.

It is a naïve and ridiculous assertion to think that Tesla chose the Bay Area location over Downey because of some shortcoming on Mr. Guerra’s part. Once again, the fact of the matter is that the Bay Area location afforded an existing car manufacturing facility and other benefits Downey didn’t have to offer. Our council should be commended for going after the Tesla opportunity with the tenacity they did. Had it come to pass, it would have a far more desirable outcome than another shopping center.

The fact that Mario Guerra has devoted his personal time and efforts promoting the City of Downey with respect to our sister city outreach programs should not be faulted either. It is good to see someone making the effort.

I am not a political fanatic of one stripe or another, I have never even met Mario Guerra, and I don’t always agree with his positions. The reason I am defending him is that he has worked harder than most other council members and has displayed an extraordinary level of dedication to our city. When it was proposed that the city wanted put in place a “moderate” increase in our water rates, I analyzed the numbers and found that it was actually a doubling of our water rates (I told you so!). I wrote a letter to my councilman, copied the rest of the council, and the letter was printed in the Downey Patriot. The only councilman to take the time to respond to my letter was Mr. Guerra. After repeated attempts to reach our do-nothing 4th district representative, he finally responded indirectly by having someone from the water department call me and plead their case.

All I would ask of the voters is to make an objective assessment of Mario Guerra. Don’t make a decision of the basis of a crackpot attack letter written by someone that appears to have an axe to grind. Mario Guerra has demonstrated integrity, and without question has committed considerable time and effort to the service of the City of Downey. Is there any reason to believe he wouldn’t continue to do so on the state level?

Dan Frederiksen
Downey



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